Gaz Coombes has had a long journey – but looks delighted to be back on stage with his Supergrass bandmates.

That journey has taken 10 years – a decade-long rollercoaster ride which saw the charismatic Wheatley lad part company with his childhood friends and embark on a phenomenally successful solo career, bashing out three critically-acclaimed albums which number among the very best of their time.

Yet, as comfortable and commanding as he is on his own, surrounded by his virtuoso cabal of Oxford companions, tonight, high up on stage at a heaving Alexandra Palace, perched on its commanding North London peak, he is back in his element – and for the legions of fans of the Oxford rockers, everything is right with the world.

What is instantly obvious is that no rust has grown on the wheels. We may be a little less taught around the midriff, but Gaz, Danny, Mick and Rob are as tight as ever, sounding as slick and thunderously rousing as they did in their heyday – and we are instantly transported to a time when we were all a little bit younger, lighter and care-free.

Marching on stage to thunderous applause they launch straight in, with a metaphorical wink, with In It for the Money. Of course they did!

The bangers come thick and fast with I’d Like to Know and the choppy Mansize Rooster.

There was no sign of the ailments which the still impossibly sharp-cheeked (boy, has he aged well!) Gaz was said to be suffering earlier in the week - painkillers doing for the stiff neck and throat issues, and the finger cut he sustained onstage in Birmingham properly healed up. It was also a crash course in Danny's stature as a versatile drummer - his stick-work veering from delicate to ferocious.

Nothing is left out as the crowd sing along and wave their arms to the anthemic Moving, Seen the Light, epic climactic rocker Richard III, and – in a moment of introspection and subtlety, the gorgeously low key piano-led St. Petersburg - possibly their most accomplished piece of songwriting.

We get She’s So Loose, Grace, and the unmistakable tinkling piano intro to their anthem Alright, little smiles accompanying the opener: “We are young...” – or maybe I imagine it.

Read more: Gaz Coombes is now 'Alright' about Supergrass split

Is it possible to top that? Yup. The place erupts for Sun Hits the Sky – and Lenny – before they re-emerge with an even bigger crowd pleaser, Caught by the Fuzz, followed by their anthem to the people of Cowley Road: Strange Ones.

Oxford Mail:

Read more: See Supergrass at this Oxfordshire festival!

The Oxford faces in the crowd, of whom there are many, go bonkers – and we all join arms for kinetic closer Pumping on Your Stereo – before pouring out into the chill North London night, happy, singing... and wondering how on earth we’re going to get home.


* See Supergrass live at Wilderness Festival, which runs Thursday 30th July – Sunday 2nd August in Charlbury.